General Question

evry1luvzaazngrl's avatar

Why do our symptoms worsen at night when we are sick?

Asked by evry1luvzaazngrl (268points) October 12th, 2010

I have the fever. When I woke up in the morning, my sore throat was worse than ever but throughout the day it didn’t hurt but I could feel a bit of a lump in my throat. My temperature also wasn’t as high. It’s 10pm now, and it’s worse. Why is this? It happens every time I’m sick, even if it’s just a cold.

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7 Answers

diavolobella's avatar

This may or may not be accurate, but I’ve always been told that your body temperature goes up in the evening and that can make you feel worse, especially if you have a fever.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I can’t answer for your fever, but I’ve been wondering the same thing lately.. I’m sick, too. At night all of the gunk that is in your lungs when you have a cold is smeared around in your lungs. When you’re sitting up or standing, it is sort of settled at the bottom. I imagine that would be irritating for a cough. Also, nasal drainage is much more likely to run down your throat when you’re lying down, irritating a sore throat and also causing you to cough more.

Nullo's avatar

I expect that you’re paying more attention, plus you’re probably generating more heat to make up for the lack of sunlight.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I wouldn’t want to be quoted on this, but I suspect it has something to do with the immune system. Digestion, energy production, body heat, all decrease as your body prepares for sleep. All of these can affect your immune system’s ability to counter the effects of infection and illness.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Actually, I think it’s more of a subjective thing. Your attention is pulled in a lot of other directions during the day: probably at work, or if not, simply relaxing, maybe watching television (a great electronic narcotic drug) or reading… or napping, without thought of tomorrow. Then at night, your attention focuses back inward on “how am I?” and “what will I be like tomorrow?” and “when will I get better?”

I know that when I feel bad enough to call in and take the day off work, I immediately feel better, and then guilty that I’m taking the day off.


My theory is that after a long day, you’re more tired and have less energy, and when you’re in that state, you tend to feel “what’s aggravating you” much more strongly. I notice that too, especially with sore throats. On the other hand, some pains for me, like backaches, tend to get better after being awake for awhile——my body has had time to warm up and the muscles have stretched and toned for the evening, so a sore back is usually more stiff in the mornings. But with colds, flu, and most other ailments, the evening is the worse time. And I think it all has to do with your tired state or having less energy and feeling bogged down. The pains are more noticeable, just like when you’re cranky——ever notice how people are more crankier at the end of the day when they’re tired? Even the smallest things can seem annoying. So take a pain and magnify it ten-fold——that’s what you get when you’re tired and worn-out.

Rarebear's avatar

@nullo is right. You’re less distracted at night.

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